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‘Better late than never!’ Macao residents react to the end of Hong Kong’s mask rule

Hong Kong held onto masks longer than Macao, but unlike Macao it no longer mandates them for public transport.

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Hong Kong held onto masks longer than Macao, but unlike Macao it no longer mandates them for public transport.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:29 am

More than 900 days after the rule was imposed, Hong Kong finally did away with masks on Wednesday.

The face coverings are no longer needed indoors or outdoors, nor are they required on public transport. The only places where they remain mandatory are hospitals and other medical facilities.

Hong Kong hung on to the Covid-19 mitigation measure long after other cities, including Macao, did away with it. While some Hongkongers are taking a guarded approach, many are delighted to stop wearing surgical masks, especially before the onset of spring – a traditionally humid time in the city.

With Hong Kong being a favourite destination and place of business for Macao residents, people on this side of the estuary are mostly happy to no longer have to pack a supply of masks when they board the ferry or bus. But there are cautious voices too.

Macao News asked five Macao residents how they felt about Hong Kong going mask free.

Mish Wu, wellness coach

I’m glad that Hong Kong dropped the mask mandate. Everyone is celebrating today, especially in the wellness industry. We can show our smiles and we’re moving towards a healthier physical and mental state.

Ivo Carneiro, historian and professor, Macao Polytechnic University

Since opening connections with Hong Kong again, I have already visited our sister SAR four times, mainly to return to the museums and bookstores. I’m happy to see the end of the compulsory use of masks. It used to bother me, especially during the guided tours and lectures offered in the museums and at art galleries. Speaking without a mask is a necessary condition for communicating.

‘Mr H’ (declined to give his full name), office clerk

It’s a positive move but a bit radical. It’s simply my gut feeling. Hong Kong is densely populated, after all. Without the mask mandate, public transport may become a breeding ground for another pandemic.

Mércia Gonçalves, director at media group MacauLink

It’s a great return to how things were. We can finally see people and interact with them without a barrier. After this decision, I will go to Hong Kong more often. Too bad that in Macao the similar measure still does not apply to buses.

Alidad Tash, managing director at 2NT8

Throughout the pandemic, Hong Kong was more progressive than mainland China and Macao regarding its Covid policies. Though it still embraced Zero Covid, it did so without the same fervour and severe restrictions. Ironically, it held on to its mask policy longer than Macao. Oh well, better late than never!

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:29 am

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